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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Marathon training, week 14 and 15 - INJURY!

Well. How weird. After I finished writing my last training update two weeks ago, I stood up from the computer - and couldn't put weight on my right foot.
It was a different foot, but exactly the same sensation as my stress fracture of last year. WHAT GIVES!? I was so upset, I really could not believe I was going to miss another marathon for the same injury. The similarities were glaring: almost exactly the same amount of time before the race, right after hitting 70 MPW, following a string of races. Something in this training is far too hard on my bones! 
Over 70? Instant stress fracture.

So week 14? Nothing. A doctor's appointment, and a scheduled MRI. Interestingly, while the x-ray didn't show any new damage, it did show a healed break from this spring: the one I suspected, but never had x-rayed. My doctor discussed my upcoming race, and then did something I've never experienced before: suggested we try to figure out a way to race it. I mentioned a drug that has been used off-label by professional athletes for stress fractures, and he agreed to consider it if my MRI showed a fracture. But he also told me that I could probably run with a carbon fiber plate in my shoe. Huh? I'd never heard of that. But they make them, so as soon as I got home I ordered a pair of carbon fiber insoles. My doctor actually said he uses them almost exclusively now, as they provide much better mobility than a boot. Meanwhile, I conveniently got really sick this week, so the downtime might have happened anyway.  But I was ready to work the next week. I decided to follow the training plan, but use the elliptical.

Monday: Easy 45 minutes
Tuesday: Yes, I did this whole thing on the elliptical, and it was awful: 4 miles aerobic, 6 strides, 4x1000m with alternating 200m and 400m jogs. Obviously I had to do some estimating, and I did so by time and effort.
Wednesday: 60 minutes easy.
Thursday: Ten miles aerobic was on the schedule, but my insoles arrived, and I wanted to try them out. I ran three miles without pain, although - man, the sensation is weird. They are extremely hard, and sort of rock as you run, creating a ton of friction on your foot and resistance. It's a struggle, and causes a lot of muscle overuse and strain. But it's running! I was vigilant about paying attention to my foot after that to make sure some pain didn't creep in later. 
Friday: 45 minutes easy with 8 strides. LOL at trying to do strides in these insane shoes.
Saturday: Everyone was doing Middendorf's Manchac 10k, so - I did, too! In my stupid hard-as-rock carbon fiber shoes and at marathon pace, but still. It's the effort that counts, right?
Sunday: This was the absolute hardest thing I've ever done in my life: 21 miles at easy pace. So hard on my legs! So painful! The carbon fiber inserts make it feel like I'm running completely flat-footed in ankle-deep mud with knife-blades in my shoes. The schedule called for time-on-your-feet - an easy run equal to your goal marathon time - but I cut it short at 2:50. I was DONE.  

Going forward, I expect to be back running normally pretty soon. Until I hear from my doctor, it's carbon fiber plates for running, but easy "runs" on the elliptical. But thankfully, this week the pain improved dramatically, and I've been walking around barefoot, in heels, etc. without pain. I suspect that this injury will fall short of an actual stress fracture, and be considered a stress reaction instead. As of today, I do still plan to run the Rocket City Marathon December 8th, although my goal may change. But I'm feeling optimistic that I'll be back to normal soon.

Weekly mileage: 40.5 - that's crazy considering the circumstances! 


  1. Oh man, I can't believe you are dealing with another injury. Your body just does not seem to like super high mileage training plans. :( I hope that the carbon filters continue to help. I have never heard of them!!

  2. Phew. I was really worried when you first posted about a full on stress fracture on your IG. I have never heard of doing anything like this carbon plate thing! Super interesting. I'm glad it is working for you and you are getting the training in.

  3. D: Oh geez. Not again. I hope your scan comes back clear & it's just some there-and-gone wonkiness.